Let's Talk Facts
by Charles Kunkle Jr. (aka fraterchaos)
In the wake of the tragedy in Newtown Conn. this past week, there's been a lot of stuff bandied about, and I have made no secret of my opinions about the subject. Personally, I fully favor a semi-automatic assault weapons ban, and a ban on high capacity magazines. I have met with a good deal of opposition on this, by people who make numerous claims and excuses and arguments that to me, simply don't wash.
One of the things we've been hearing a lot of, is the "arm the teachers" argument. In some ways, this almost sounds like it makes sense... if those teachers had had guns, they could have shot the shooter... and of course the people who suggest this always include the idea that the teachers must also be trained to use guns safely... as if that somehow excuses all the arguments against this idea. But allow me to explain why I find this argument less than persuasive.
I went to a very large high school. I believe we had over 2000 students in three grades, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades. But it wasn't an urban school, it was mostly rural and some suburban areas. It was also mostly white, mostly christian, mostly "good old fashioned Americans"... and yet, I knew many many students that did all they could to press the teacher's buttons. It was a daily occurrence of students being "sent to the principal" for giving teachers a hard time, and there were even cases where students actually attacked teachers physically. And this was not an urban, inner city, violence ridden school.
Now imagine, a teacher is having a bad day, a bad week, a bad month... a teacher's spouse is leaving them and getting a divorce, their pay is being cut due to budget cuts by uncaring politicians, the administration is giving the teacher a bad time because he's been late and his work has suffered due to the impending divorce... and he's presiding over a classroom full of rowdy teens who make it their duty to drive this poor guy even more crazy... are you telling me there's zero chance this teacher will snap and take out that gun you required them to have, and just start shooting his students? Do you trust every single teacher in this country to be THAT stable? ALL THE TIME?
So I can already hear it, people complaining that we are not talking about rowdy teens in a high school here, this was an elementary school and very young children... do you really think that young children are so much less likely to get on a teacher's nerves? If you believe that, you not only do not HAVE elementary aged kids, you have never really been around them! You want a teacher, who very well could be having personal problems, watching over your six year old child to have easy access to a gun? I don't.
And if you still believe more guns are the answer, I guess you would say "arm the students so they can protect themselves from the teachers who might snap"... yeah right, you BEEN to an urban high school with gangbangers running loose with the guns they can already get? You want to GIVE them more?
Now of course we hear other arguments, although, technically, they are not arguments, they are excuses. People who want guns, and fear to have any change to existing gun laws will say "It's not guns, it's..." take your pick, they will say "mental illness" or "violent TV and movies" or "violent video games" or "lack of religion in schools and society" and I can tell you truthfully, all these are nothing but weapons grade bullsh*t!
If ANY of these excuses were true, then please explain why other countries don't have the same problems? Other nations (with stricter gun laws) have just as many violent TV shows and movies. Other nations (with more stringent laws about guns) have the same violent video games. They have the same incidence of mental illness. Some of them have a completely different religion, and some have almost no religion at all... some follow religious beliefs that actually PROMOTE violence! And yet, in every nation on Earth that has stricter gun laws than the USA, there are less mas shootings... and it's completely proportional too... nations with laws only a bit more strict than the USA have only a few less mass shootings, countries with laws that are a good bit more strict, have a lot less, and countries with very strict laws have the least.
There's only one variable here, only one that corresponds with the amount of gun violence, and that's gun availability. All the other factors are the same. And considering the religion argument... you can have whatever religious beliefs you want, but you cannot make the case that prayer and religion in schools would do anything to curb mass shootings, even in schools... if more religion were the answer, then explain why there have been mass shooting in churches! Why pastors and their wives and their friends have been gunned down in the pulpit, and at times, by their own church members? Are you going to say those people didn't pray enough, they weren't religious enough?
Look... we just saw 20 children shot dead, for no real reason... let me stress that DEAD DEAD DEAD DEAD DEAD!!!!!! They will never grow up, they will never be able to fulfill their potential. Their parents will never see them again, will never hug them, and they will not have grandchildren by those children. How would you feel if it were YOUR child? And how could it have been prevented? Not allowing people to have semi-automatic weapons. As simple as that, the statistics prove it, nations that ban these do not have these mass shootings, nations that allow them, have mass shootings, no matter what any other factors are, it does not matter how many violent video games or violent movies they have, the only thing that correlates to the number of shootings is the laxness of the gun laws!
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." -- The Second Amendment of the Constitution of The United States.
Above is the actual, full text of the Second Amendment. The people who quote this to support "gun rights" always seem to leave out quite a lot of it. It does not say "Right to bear arms"... it says "A well REGULATED militia, being necessary to the security of a free state..." and this is the part the gun rights people always forget... it plainly says "well regulated" and saying we cannot deny anyone any type of gun is in direct contradiction to this amendment, not complying with it! The government has every right to pass sensible laws about guns, they simply cannot ban ALL guns! There is nothing in the letter of the amendment nor in it's spirit that supports the idea of allowing normal citizens to possess weapons of war!
And so we come to the final argument... "We need our guns to protect us from our own government". Are you stupid? First of all, that's another one that simply is NOT covered by the second amendment... it does not have anything to do with protecting anyone FROM our government, it is about protecting our nation in concert WITH our government. If you don't understand the difference, what gives you the right to decide when and if you have a right to revolt against the government... because that's actually what you are talking about... treason, plain and simple. If you use your semi-automatic weapon against agents of our legally and duly elected government, you are a traitor!
And who exactly decides when it's proper to resist the government? As far as these people are concerned, they themselves are the sole judges of whether they should obey the law or revolt against it. How many of these people right this moment feel they should revolt against President Obama? Polls have been done that clearly show a large number of people mistakenly believe that Obama is not our legal president. And yet I have to ask, would then I not have had the same right to revolt against George W. Bush? There is far more evidence that Bush was elected unfairly than anything that can be leveled at Obama... so I should have had every right to simply grab my gun and disobey the law because I felt Bush was not fairly elected? I bet very few of these people would say I have that right...
And do you really believe you can stand against the federal government with a semi-automatic weapon? Or a hundred of them, or a thousand? Do you also have a right to own an F 15 fighter jet with sidewinder missiles? Do you have a right to an Abrams Tank? Do you have the right to own an Apache Helicopter with deforesting machine guns? Do you a right to own an aircraft carrier? A nuclear submarine? Inter-continental ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads?If you don't have a right to those weapons, or even if you have a right to them, if you can't afford to buy them, in massive quantities, you CANNOT defy the Federal Government! And if you think you can, you are not competent to own ANY gun!
If one really considers this dispassionately, it becomes obvious that it is a question of risk. People who want no new or stronger regulations on guns always say "if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns" and in fact, to some degree they are right... but let's consider this in terms of risk. As things stand now, if you buy a legal semi-automatic gun, all the risk is on society, on the possible victims (and to some degree, small risk to you, as you may shoot yourself accidentally, or someone may take that gun away from you and shoot you with it) but mainly the risk is on those who will end up being shot by you. On the other hand, if these guns are illegal, it won't actually STOP you from owning one, you can still break the law and get one... and the risk of that is at least somewhat shared by YOU, it's not only on your victims. You have a chance of being caught with it, and paying the price of disobeying the law.
Basically it comes down to one simple choice, does your "right" to own a semi-automatic weapon supersede my right to live? It's really time we stop taking all laws as one level, and prioritize them... first and foremost must be the right to live... right to own a gun HAS to come below that or there is really no point to even having civilization.